Friday, February 27, 2009

Incremental increase

Ok, so my chronometer is dead, which means any run I go on until I fix it will be naked runs.  No time updates, but distances will likely be known.

Last night I ran about 1.5 miles (or, hated running for 1.5 miles), and physically felt drained at about 1.25.  My “happy zone” is somewhere between 1 and 1.5, but I’m sure that’ll be extended in short order.  Meanwhile, I’m almost certain my shoes are garbage, as well.  I’ll either go to Lukes or Fleet Feet in the next few weeks and get that all taken care of.


The morning after runs are always interesting.  There’s this little achiness in the trunk muscles—sides, stomach, ribs—and just a little tiredness in the legs, but nothing major.  The morning after that is usually when my soreness sets in, until I get back into some semblance of running shape.


In other thoughts…


How do you formally implement institutional curiosity where an organization collects data just for the sake of collecting data?  The reason to do this is because the data you KNOW contains useful information fits within the filters already in place—accounting software, marketing software, etc.  But the data that you don’t know contains useful information never gets collected unless you’re just curious.  But curiosity doesn’t pay the bills, unless you get lucky and find a golden ticket among all the rubbish data, and the curious companies actually collect that rubbish. 


So, how do you formally implement institutional curiosity?  I’m not sure I know the answer to that.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My mortgage relief/bank recapitalization plan

Let’s say you have a house.  The value of that house has either stalled out or fallen.  If you already have a traditional 15 to 30 year home mortgage or you have one of those “exotic” or sub-prime loans but can still afford the note you purchased even if it was a traditional 15 or 30 year loan, you’re the type of homeowner that will benefit from my mortgage relief and bank recapitalization plan (MRBC, yea, that’s nice).

People with investment properties they can’t afford, sorry, but I’m not interested in helping you.

Vacation homeowners?  Sorry, figure out how to bail yourself out.

People with waaaayyy too much house, as defined by the percentage of your income it would take to service a traditional loan, sorry, you made a big, dumb mistake buying too much house, the bank made a mistake giving you that loan, and you’re both going to have to pay for that mistake.


How will I fix it?


The people who can afford their home notes right now will be able to go to the bank, fill out the refinance paperwork to get a new note at today’s rates, and the bank that gives that loan will receive a payment equal to 20% of the note being refinanced, up to a certain dollar amount.  That 20% will then be fully applied to the new loan, effectively knocking 20% off the principal of the note.  This is NOT free money.  This is a grant which rewards certain, desired behavior.  A payment for a service, if you will.


It is also an acknowledgement that the value of the underlying asset (the home) has been compromised by all of the people defaulting on their adjustable rate loans and the resulting flood of foreclosed homes at low, low prices.  Because the value of the underlying asset has been compromised refinancing has become hard to do, even if you have decent credit, because the value of the asset has been compromised and the equity position of the home has been reduced.  Consequently, assuming you’re at or near $0 on your equity position, the 20% value grant will allow you to completely refinance your home to a traditional mortgage without taking an additional monthly PMI hit.  You still have to pay closing costs.  You still have to be able to afford your home.  The principal portion will simply be 20% lower (up to a certain dollar amount).  Meanwhile, the banks have taken certain suspect notes off the books by refinancing the “good” homeowners who have “bad” loans, and meanwhile allowing the “good” homeowners with “good” loans to refinance their loans at today’s excellent rates.  This shores up the cash position with extra fees, the cash grant, and a more predictable stream of payments from the loans (nobody really knows what a potentially non-performing bad loan looks like, they look just the same as a “good” bad loan) and can begin the purging process of the remaining loans held by people who cannot afford their houses.  It draws a distinct line in the sand between bad homeowners, good homeowners getting swept into the tidal wash by the bad homeowners, and the traditional mortgage holders who didn’t cause this mess to begin with.


I’m pretty sure it would work.  But it’s too simple (and logical) to ever pass the brain trust in DC.


Looks like I underestimated the deficit by about 3 billion dollars.


The proposed deficit is going to be 1.7 trillion.

That’s $1,750,000,000,000.


So, to CUT the deficit in half, you only need to EXPAND the deficit by $400 billion or so, if you take out the trillion or so in stimulus and bailout plans.  That should be an easy trick to pull off.  Even the previous President could expand the deficit by $400b—and he did it with an allegedly conservative congress.  Hell, he went even further than that, technically, because he started out with a surplus.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nothing new to report

I got up just a wee bit too late to take a run in this morning.  Oddly enough, I was a little disappointed.

Last night I got home just a week bit too late to take in a run.  That disappointed me, too.  I have a jogging stroller in the garage.  I think I’m going to stage it near the front door so that I can take the boy out on a quick run when I get home from the office Thursday.  That’s what I wanted to do yesterday, but coming home too late combined with a very, very, very slow eating baby put the kibosh on that.

I’m thinking of doing something radical and giving up all red meat for Lent.  I know it starts today, but I still have time to pick a vice to fast from.


In other news, President Obama’s speech was not at all bad to listen to.  I’m still skeptical that “tax cut” means “increased less than they would have if the current tax rates had expired and we hadn’t lowered the increase x%”, but if the payroll taxes are reduced in April I’ll be mostly convinced.  Also, it’s not hard to cut the deficit by 50% if you increase it by a TRILLION DOLLARS before you cut it.  If you go from 400 billion, to 1.4 trillion, then cut it in half, you’re still at a $700 billion (a 75% increase), but you’ve reduced the deficit by 50% (from 1.4 trillion).  It’s not that hard to cut a couple of stimulus plans from the budget and reduce your deficit.  I’m hopeful, though.  I like the green energy infrastructure initiatives.  I can get on board with a reformation of the health system.  I can get on board with affordable and available education for all.  Next time maybe we’ll get more foreign policy stuff (I get nervous when the feds pay TOO much attention to domestic affairs).

Monday, February 23, 2009


I watched about 2 minutes of the Oscars.  The pageantry is neat, the showmanship is neat.


That’s about as “into” the Oscars as I can get.


It’s not that I don’t like good entertainment.  I LOVE good entertainment.  What’s His Face’s “Tribute to Great Movies from 2008 that Weren’t Nominated” with that cute little brown haired chick he plucked from the audience was actually rather impressive.  But what I CAN’T get into is the fawning, over the top, idolization of these actors.  Yes, they’re great actors.  No, they’re not the end-all be-all of human development and enlightenment.  I don’t want to be them.  Generally speaking, I don’t want to be with them.  And generally speaking I don’t care what they think any more than I care what anyone else thinks.  And it’s exceptionally annoying that the morning “news” runs wall to wall, breathless, fawning coverage of this on the assumption that it is THE story that EVERYONE wants to hear about, while most of us are probably just mildly interested, if that. 


Makes you wonder if the earth would keep spinning if nobody decided to cover the Oscars.  Something of a tree falling in the forest question.  But didn’t that almost happen a couple of years ago during one of the overpaid Hollywood workers’ strikes?  The writers, or actors, or both?  There was talk of not televising some awards show, and then someone realized that nobody would really care, and they’d never get their stupid pageant on the air again, and so they decided to air the show anyway?  Hhmmm…  if an awards show happens in the woods, and a tree falls on it…

No peppers for me!!

Running update:

I wanted to run this weekend.  SERIOUSLY!!  I wanted to run.

I was thinking back to the marathon and how awesome passing those milestones along the way, the 24th mile with Jon, checking out the mile for mile splits, remembering cresting the Westpark “hill”, cruising into the park, entering into the Gates of downtown and into the Valleys of Heroes, traveling down the Avenue of Champions toward big, bad George.  The twos and twos of fans cheering you on…  it’s pretty sweet.  It really is.  Too bad it costs you 20 miles of running to get there.


But alas, my resolve held and I resisted the urge.  Another weekend down, another mile not run.

Marathon sign up day is fast approaching, although not as fast as I originally thought.  I got a message from the marathon people saying that sign ups open in July, not April.  I double checked the website, and sure enough, it’s July 17.  That’s cool.  I’m alright with that.  I may pass on the 2010 run, anyway, and wait until after I finish my degree to look towards a comeback from “retirement”.


Besides, I don’t want to give everyone a new 30k story just yet.


I did find it funny, though, that every full on race recap started with me getting to the race right before the gun and rushing to the starting line as everyone else had already begun to run.  I even started the marathon in ’06 about 2 minutes after the gun.  That’s the difference between runners and fat guys who run, I suppose.  You people bound out of bed and jog to the start line about 2 hours before it starts, chat, eat your bagels, drink your energy drinks, and are just itching to get started.  Me?  I sleep in to about 5 minutes before it starts, search for my shoes (because I went to sleep in my running gear), drearily get in the car, and drive as fast as I safely can to the start, get out of my car as the gun is going off, and run my “warm up” portion while I’m catching up to the last guys off the line.


On the garden line…

Looks like our peppers aren’t going to germinate in time for planting next week.  Oh well…  we’ll just have to go for a few transplants instead.  It’s a shame, too, because those damn transplants are expensive as hell--$3.50 a plant versus $2.97 for an entire packet of seeds! 


I’m considering staggering the introduction of my tomatoes to the garden.  Doing ½ this weekend, and ½ next weekend, just in case we get a cold snap that messes with my precious little packages before they’re big and strong.  Alternatively, I can always just cover them up to protect them from the weather and get them in the ground sooner rather than later.  HHmm…  Still have time to ponder that one.



If marriage is a civil right, then is divorce a violation of your civil rights?  Assuming, of course, you don’t want to get divorced and your spouse has decided that it’s just not working out, would his or her forcing you into a divorce be a violation of your right to be married?  Assuming, of course, marriage is a right, and not a privilege and/or obligation anyway.

Friday, February 20, 2009


You know, for 8 years term “Commander in Chimp” has been tossed around by the MoveOn crowd and others of their extreme left ilk so much so that the phrase made it into the Urban Dictionary.  Salon even did a piece referring to the smear in the early stages of 2001.


And now Al Sharpton has decided to hold up a window into his own racist oversensitivity to invent a link that doesn’t exist in some stupid editorial cartoon that suggests a monkey could do as good a job writing the stimulus bill as congress did?  Where was the outrage for the last 8 years?  Or is it ok to insult a white guy, you racist pig?  Or is this not really outrage, but just a good show for the cameras because you haven’t been on TV in a month and you’re worried that people may forget that whitey is to blame for keeping the bruthas down?  Or, well…  um, I mean…  er, the other bruthahs, because you’re clearly doing ok for yourself.




2004:  See the comments, too.  In October someone shot off a “next commander in chimp” crack, but Big Al doesn’t care about that guy ‘cause there’s no money in it.


And this one is exceptionally nice:

Cycling planned

Tomorrow I’m planning on getting out on the cycling path early to see if the old legs are in any condition to consider the May MS150 out in Dallas.  Getting into shape to pull off that ride may be a good idea if I’m going to seriously consider running in the marathon next year.  Of course, many will rightfully question the wisdom of 1. Continuing work on my MBA (coming up on the final stretch!!), 2. Being properly attentive to my wife, 3. Being properly attentive to my child, 4. Continuing to be an attentive and responsive elder at my church, 5. Giving my dog the attention that he’s apparently being starved of, 6. Remaining committed to doing the best possible job at the office, 7. Properly tending to my garden and household, AND oh yea, by the way, sneaking in 300 miles or so in cycling to prepare for the MS150 and, you know, about another 150 or so to train for the marathon.  I mean, after all, what’s another couple of endurance challenges on top of all the other endurance challenges I’m already doing?  Because, you know, sleep is for pussies.

After all, about 60% of the time I’m honestly about THIS CLOSE to completely losing my grip.  That means I have about 40% of my sanity to give.  Those are pretty good odds.


Have you seen the “shift happens” videos?  They’re neat.  They talk about the exponential growth of knowledge based data and infrastructure and how gobs and gobs of information is being produced on a daily basis and it’s growing and RUN FOR THE HILLS WE ARE SO UNPREPARED!!!  Wait, scratch that last part.

I don’t disagree with the basic premise that the world is changing in ever faster clips.  However, I disagree that new INFORMATION is being created every second.  DATA is being created every second, but INFORMATION isn’t necessarily being created.  This blog post is data that equates to “BLAH BLAH BLAH”.  It has been organized into a formal, formatted template, which some may consider to be INFORMATION, which is data that is useful.  But generally speaking, the preceding information is generally useless to just about everyone.  It may provide entertainment, it may provoke thought, it my simply provide a space during the day when you don’t have to think about something more significant.  But more likely than not it’s just empty space that has been filled with useless data, formatted to look like information, but generally useless and worthless all the same.  So that’s where I depart from the buy in of the future of information generation.  There may be lots of data produced, but I don’t think lots of useful information will be produced. 

Maybe the great challenge of the next generation is to figure out how to sift out the good data and potentially good information from the junk data and useless information.  And that’s not really a challenge that’s different than what we’ve always had to do, ever since forever.  The only difference is that there will be a LOT MORE useless data generated thanks to the ease of creating and disseminating that useless data and the relative impossibility of removing old, junk data, and all that garbage has the potential of overwhelming the truly useful information that is generated.  The answer to life, the universe, and everything could pop up and nobody would even know it for 2000 years.

Take facebook as an example.  There are over 200 million users of that service.  You may only know 50 of them.  You’ve got to figure out a way to sift through 200,000,000 profiles to determine the 199,999,950 useless profiles to find the 50 that matter to you.  To make the challenge even greater, there may be more than 50 that matter.  There may be less.  You could be sitting on 45 profiles and racking your brain trying to figure out where the other 5 are that just simply don’t exist.  Yet.  That’s a helluva challenge.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MMmm.. potatoes

Didn’t run a lick.  Not a single step.


And I’m ok with that, because I have a LOT of other stuff going on.


I’ve just about finished my MIS homework, prepped for the first test, and laid the foundation work on the presentation.  Oh yea, I have an oral report I have to give in my MANA class in 2 or 3 weeks.


Meanwhile, 4 of my 12 potato plants are growing nicely.  I’m very happy about that.

My beets are pretty much crap.  They’ll become tomatoes in about 3 weeks.

This last weekend we planted fresh butter crunch lettuce, carrots, brussel sprouts, and broccoli and filled in the pea gaps to round out the early spring garden.  To get a jump on the spring/summer garden, the first cucumbers were also planted and bell peppers and egg plant were seeded in the indoor hothouse.


Quite honestly, I don’t know how someone can be an avid runner AND have some semblance of a life outside the running shoes.


In other news, the “economic stimulus” spending bill is being signed.  I think it’s needed, but I also think there’s a lot of government waste packed into the bill that has little or nothing to do with real economic stimulus.  Throwing money at government agencies does not equal economic stimulus.  Building actual, real infrastructure things does equal real economic stimulus (and no, giving everyone a $600 check does not equal lasting stimulus, but I’ll still take it and run to the bank).  So, we’ve got a “stimulus” bill that has a lot of good spending, but also a lot of really wasteful junk.  I’d have liked to see either less raw spending or more infrastructure spending, but that’s not what you get in a governmental climate like the one we have.  I remember someone saying once that if push came to shove and Nancy and Harry said “this is how it’s going to be”, a President Obama wasn’t going to be able to effectively push back either because he doesn’t have the pull and contact on the Hill, or doesn’t have the political leaning/desire to push back.


I think that someone was right.


But I think that someone also will readily acknowledge that there is more potential good, fundamental, societal and cultural transformation that will come out of this administration than will have come out of the alternative.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Finally feeling normal

I know, “normal” is somewhat of a subjective notion, and totally relative to one’s environment and general mood.  “Normal” for me might be very, very odd to you, and vice versa.


Nonetheless, I am feeling “normal” for the first time in weeks.  No headache, no weariness, no nothing.  Yes, some things are weighing heavy, as usual.  But nothing traumatic.  Or, at least, not terribly traumatic.


I suppose what I mean to say is that I’ve finally kicked this cold.  It feels good.  Maybe I’ll get out on my bike later this week.  With school on Monday and Wednesday, a test AND project due in 2 days, and another project due a week later, and another project due soon (the exact date escapes me right now, but I know it’s not this Wednesday), it may be short sighted to try and squeeze in a bike ride. 


Maybe I’ll go for a short run.  I dunno.  The exercise might do me well.  The limited yoga that I’ve been attempting is an exercise in both flexibility and muscle control.  Not to mention overall emotional control.  There has been more than once I’ve gotten into some odd position (cat roll up? Barking moon?) and thought to myself “I SHOULD BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT NOW!!” and then followed that up with a deep breath and intentional stillness.


So, this is how the conversation went this weekend that expelled the headache:


Me:  I have a SPLITTING headache.  Everything is blurry and I’m having trouble focusing.  Do you think it’s a migraine?  I’ve had it for 2 days now.

Lovely Wife:  Are you seeing spots?

Me:  No.

LW:  Fingers numb?

Me:  No.

LW:  You’re don’t have a migraine.  Have you been wearing your reading glasses?

Me:  …

LW:  Well?

Me:  Yes?

LW:  You’re not wearing them right now.

Me:  Yea, well this is large type.

LW:  It looks like normal print.  Aren’t you supposed to be wearing them whenever you read a lot?  You haven’t been wearing them at work, have you?

Me:  Shut up.  You’re not the boss of me.

LW:  There’s a reason you have a headache, dummy.  No more studying until later today.  Close your computer, right now.  Lay down, close your eyes.

Me:  I don’t have time…

LW:  You have time.  Now DO IT.


I should know by now that a couple of weeks’ of constant reading will give me eye strain.  That’s what sent me to the eye doc a year or so ago in the first place.  It’s good to have a Lovely Wife tell you what to do every now and then.  Needless to say, the headache is gone and I’ve been wearing my old man glasses (ie, readers), faithfully all day today.


Oh, PS:  the research I’ve been doing for MIS has resulted in a “badge” for my facebook site (space?  Page?).  Still not totally convinced FB isn’t a waste of time.  Feels a little voyeuristic, still.  There is something interesting, though.  Back in HS you have all these friends and you don’t necessarily talk to each other all the time, but you kind of hang out in the same area all the time.  In my case it was the band hall (yes, I was a band geek, but I was a trumpet player, so it was like I was the king geek) and we’d all hang out there in the same place, but not necessarily together.  And there were others who were in the school, and you didn’t necessarily talk to them all the time, but they were still there, and you all had a presence together.  And when one of you was missing, you knew it, even though you didn’t talk to them all the time or hang out with them, specifically.  You know, you were just all in the same place together.


That’s kind of what facebook feels like, a little.  I’m not necessarily hanging out with these people, or really paying particularly close attention to the comings and goings of their life, nor really broadcasting anything particularly significant about my own life to them, but we’re all in the same place at generally the same time and we seem to have a presence.  Albeit a virtual presence, there’s still a presence.


I’m not sure that really makes sense.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Ok, ladies, I just don’t get it.


I walk through Nordstroms on the way to lunch on a fairly regular basis.  The makeup counter is right there by the door, so I have to walk by.  Thankfully the shoe department is right across the aisle, but that’s another point entirely.


Anyway, there’s always a healthy host of ladies getting painted on by these bizarro rejects from some crazy post-apocalyptic sci-fi flick.  What is it about these freak-shows that inspires confidence in their ability to put an attractive layer of make up on you?  I mean, seriously.  Some of them genuinely look like they have no access to a mirror, and when they do have said access for some reason they go completely blind when they look into it and just continue to put on the eye liner and shadow stuff that’s supposed to go on eye-lids (I’ll call it lid-shadow, for lack of a better term).  Today, this one horror actually looked like she was just getting back from robbing a bank or communing with her other family of raccoons!  AND SOMEONE WAS LETTING HER PAINT UPON THEIR FACE!!


Why?  I just don’t get it.  Why?  What compels someone to look at a perfectly attractive woman and think to themselves “you know, that face needs a layer of concealer and about 5 pounds of hideous makeup!”  It’d be like trying to “fix” the Mona Lisa.  Something’s just not right about that.

Monday, February 09, 2009

A curious thing, this market of ours

You know, it’s a curious thing, our market economy.

Valuable work is rewarded.  Sometimes greatly rewarded.  That’s a good thing—a really, really good thing.


Of course, the work that the “market” values isn’t necessarily the most beneficial for the market, nor is it always valuable for society.  Porn, for example, is rewarded.  Ashley Madison dot com is rewarded (as seen on the SuperBowl Commercial Show), but it’s certainly not a value building business for society [They offer a matchmaking site for married people looking to have an affair.  Yes, I’m serious.].  Farmers build the MOST value for society, but the market doesn’t value their work at all.  We shop for the cheapest food we can possibly buy and pass over better, fresher food because it costs a few pennies more.  Meanwhile, the people who literally build the most value for society by feeding it, get the smallest cut of the food chain profit.  Look, too, at daycare, or teachers.  We try and pay those people as little as possible and ask them to do as much as possible.  Teachers less so than daycare, but still true for both.

As individuals, too, we look to employment much the same way.  There are jobs we would much, much rather be doing (yes, I love the work I do, but even I have a dream job that I think I would much rather be doing, though my wife has not allowed me to even mention it for the remainder of the year) but choose other professions because we have to either pay the bills, or pay for retirement, or both.  So, we do what we must and save funds until such time as we can finally retire and, if we are able, do what we want.  If we’re lucky, we get to do what we want, and get paid for it.  But even if we get to do what we want, and must do it for someone else, it’s not quite that dream job we always wanted until we can do what we want, and do it because we want to do it.


It’s a curious thing, this market economy of ours.  It makes do some curious things—voluntarily.  Or have we simply become so lazy and malinformed that we have chosen to slide along doing what we must and providing the market what it wants rather than standing up and giving society (and the market) what it needs and doing what WE want, for a change?


A curious thing indeed.

Not bloody likely

3 quick shots before I jet off to my opulent lunch time palace:


1.       It’s not bloody likely that I’ll be running in the Rodeo Run or the 5 mile Park to Park run.  Although, stranger things have happened.  I just don’t have the energy or time right now.  I feel like I’m perpetually behind in class, work, and home.

2.       I was lamenting over not having sprouts in my chard and beet patches Saturday, then on Sunday the little bastards popped right up!  Carrots have even decided to join the party in small numbers along with just a few head of lettuce.  Howabout that.

3.       I’ve been “tagged” on facebook with one of those “25 random things” lists.  So, I’ve spent the morning wondering what “random things” really constitute “random” and what “random things” are really carefully selected statements, thoughts, memories, or anecdotes that reveal something interesting, but nothing too revealing.  I suppose it’s a fine balancing act between being awkwardly introspective (which I am prone to do) and completely, brashly, and rudely standoffish (which I am also prone to do).

4.       I was never very good at staying within boundaries.

5.       That stupid little “facebook tag” will likely be showing up at the bottom of this blog soon.  I’m not sure why, though, my profile is restricted to people listed as “friends”.  I’m also not sure why I did that for facebook while this blog, a much more voluminous and open listing of thoughts that go through my head (and potentially more embarrassing, I suppose, as well) is open to the world to see.  I guess maybe because there are actual photos and links to others on FB and not here.  Hm.  Humans are curious and complicated creatures.

6.       I still may sign up to run the marathon in 2010.

7.       I missed the episode of Sesame Street that was brought to me by the number 3, but watched the one brought to me by the number 7 HUNDREDS of times.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Still feel like crap

Ok, it’s been 2 weeks now.  Time for this cold/flu/gunk to move along to greener pastures.


You see, my wife is a teacher, and my son is a child.  The two of them are constantly tracking gazillions of nasty parasites into the house because they spend all day around filthy little monsters who eat dirt and lick paint and play around in sewer drains and basically do the equivalent of wandering around the CDC facility in Georgia with no protective gears.

They don’t mind it so much, because they build up immunities to all this crap on account of their constant immersion in the funk.  Sure, the Lovely Wife gets knocked down right about 3 weeks into school on a fairly regular basis, as does the boy.  But I somehow manage to avoid the first round.  Probably on account of my own school and work schedule keeping me mostly separated from those two filthy monsters through the worst of the first of it.


But then…  BAM!!


They bring all their nasty germs in on the second round and knock me down with wave after wave of foulness—sinus infections, respiratory infections, flu, cold, nausea, “oh, there’s a bug going around school, you’re going to be sick for 2 days, sorry!”.  Yea.  Thanks.  Thanks a fucking lot.


Howabout 2 weeks?  Huh?  2 BLASTED WEEKS!!  I’m ready to start feeling better now.  It’s time.  Please give this cough back to Courtney, or Aden, or Ralph, or whichever little beast gave it to you to give to me.  Please give this headache back to Mrs. Gonzales, or Ms. Ethel, or Eugenia, or whomever gave it to you to give to me.  I’m done with it.  Seriously.  I’m totally done with it.


Oh, and the achiness, too.  It’s no longer amusing to me.  I have work to do in the garden this weekend and the bone-weariness from the aches and pains just really get in the way of that.  So Martha, or Raul, or Edgar, or Ms. Cox, or any of the filthy vermin in Ms. Miller’s class who may have passed on this particular symptom can just take it back and choke on it.


And next time they think about passing on their particular malady to me, please suggest they slam their hand in a door.


Wow, I totally wasn’t going to write about that this morning…  I was thinking more along the lines of nostalgic song memories.  Maybe another time.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Genuinely disappointed

First off, I was hipped to the notion that there is a “Park to Park Run” in a couple of weekends that goes from Hermann to Discovery.

That’s not completely out of the question.  A nice 5 miler would do me well.  Hell, any running would do me well.  I need to get off my fat ass.


Ok, now look.  I’m genuinely disappointed that Daschle withdrew his name from consideration for President O’s cabinet.


Yes, there was plenty of funny to poke at with VP Biden having said “it’s patriotic to pay more in taxes” and then President O picking nominee after nominee who disagrees.  There’s plenty of funny there.


But it’s still not a big deal.  So what if Daschle didn’t pay taxes on non-cash income?  Who among us HASN’T taken cash for a job and not declared it as income?  I never once declared a single penny of a single tip I ever received.  Lawn mowed?  $20, cash, tax free.  Yup.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Come on after me, IRS.  I don’t care.  It’ll cost you more to investigate it than you’ll recover, and I don’t think you can even prove I ever received the money.

But in Daschle’s case, his benefactor benefited from declaring the expense as pay to another—some kind of form, I’m a little vague on details of high flying tax crap—the driver benefited from declaring the income, and that, in turn, would have forced Daschle to acknowledge the benefit as income.


Yes, it’s against the law and there is an ethical obligation to abide by the law.  ESPECIALLY if you’re a public servant.  But it is NOT your ethical obligation to go out of your way to find out if there is any law that you’re NOT abiding by.  Which is to say, you drive the speed limit, as far as you know what the speed limit is.  You’re not obliged to call the DPS every so many miles to confirm that the limit hasn’t changed from the last sign you read.  In Daschle’s case, he clearly wasn’t trying to avoid paying taxes—he filed a return and signed it.  He clearly intended to pay taxes.  All evidence suggests that this was a simple oversight.  One of those “oh, you declared that?” moments.  At that point was he ethically obligated to pay?  Yup.  Should an oversight disqualify him?  Nope.


What disappoints me most, I think, is that after the SecTreas was confirmed, I had hoped that there truly was a different atmosphere where the Chief would stand up and say “you know, that’s really not a big deal.  Do you know how much $120,000 is to the federal government?  We just spent that much, just now.  And now again.  And again.  And again.  $120k is nothing.  And he’s paid it back.”


But he didn’t say that.


And now Daschle has pulled out.


And Daschle is still uniquely qualified to head up Health and Human Services.  If you wanted health care reform, that’s the guy who would have gotten some kind of holistic solution.  Maybe not a perfect solution, but a complete solution that helped people get meds for a cold before it turned into pneumonia.


But no.  He can’t.  ‘Cause he farted in church.  So he can’t serve in public office any more.  Ever.  Never ever.  Over what amounts to not even a rounding error on the US Federal budget.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Ok, quick running recap:


I opted to sleep in on Saturday and didn’t run.

I MIGHT run tonight.  I MIGHT also sprout wings, although one has a higher likelihood than the other.


“K” found me on facebook.  Yea, I’m busted.  Jon convinced me to explore it a little further.  I’m still not completely convinced it’s not a total waste of time, and I’m almost certain that it’s at least a little bit a waste of time.  I haven’t quite shaken that feeling of being a voyeur, but maybe it’ll pass.  However, I am beginning to see some utility inasmuch as I have a project this semester regarding information systems and new tech-tools.  So, at the very least, facebook can be a grade, not just a waste of time.


Also, in my “other job”, facebook might become a very useful marketing tool.  Not quite sure what that’ll look like, yet.  The idea is still bubbling around.


Finally, I have sprouts!!!

Beans are coming up, lettuce is coming up, shard is coming up.  Beets, carrots, and potatoes have yet to break the surface, but I’m sure they’re not far behind.  All of my tomato plants have sprouted and I thinned out the weak ones from the strong ones.  (Anyone that doesn’t buy into natural selection has never gardened a lick in their life.)  In a couple of weeks they will be transplanted into larger containers.  Then, if everything continues on this path, I’ll have 16 tomato plants—four plants of four varieties—ready to put in the ground come March 1 or so.


OH, and finally (part 2), has anyone asked Joe Biden to remind us about patriotism and paying taxes?  Hehehe…  too funny, too funny.